Beginner Running Tips – 26+ Experts Share Their Favorite

Written By: Jeremy N

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As a beginner, starting a running routine can be intimidating. However, with the right approach, running can be a fun and rewarding activity that promotes physical and mental well-being. In this article, I will provide some beginner running tips to help you get started on your running journey.

Before diving into the tips, it is important to understand the basics of running. Running involves a repetitive motion that puts stress on your joints and muscles.

Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right running gear, develop a running plan, warm up and cool down properly, and take care of your nutrition and hydration. In addition, safety and injury prevention should be a top priority when starting a running routine.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the basics of running is crucial for beginners.
  • Choosing the right running gear, developing a running plan, and taking care of nutrition and hydration are important for success.
  • Safety and injury prevention should be a top priority for all runners.

Understanding the Basics of Running

As a beginner runner, it's important to understand the basics of running to ensure you have a successful and safe experience.

Proper Form

One of the most important things to focus on when starting to run is proper form. Good running form can help prevent injuries and improve your overall performance. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your head up and your eyes looking forward
  • Relax your shoulders and keep them down
  • Keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle and swing them back and forth by your sides
  • Land on the middle of your foot and roll through to your toes
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and avoid over-striding

Breathing

Breathing is another important aspect of running to master. Proper breathing can help you maintain your pace and avoid getting winded. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Focus on taking deep breaths from your diaphragm
  • Try to establish a rhythm with your breathing that matches your running pace

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are just as important as running itself. Make sure to give your body time to recover between runs and listen to any signals of pain or discomfort. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Aim for at least one rest day per week
  • Get enough sleep to allow your body to recover
  • Stretch before and after each run to prevent injury

By understanding these basics of running, you'll be able to start your running journey with confidence and success.

26 of the top running experts share their favorite beginner tunning tips.

Choosing the Right Running Gear

As a beginner runner, it's important to have the right gear to ensure a comfortable and safe workout. Here are some tips on choosing the right running gear.

Footwear Selection

Choosing the right pair of running shoes is crucial for preventing injuries and improving performance. When selecting shoes, consider the following:

  • Arch support: If you have flat feet, look for shoes with good arch support to prevent overpronation. If you have high arches, look for shoes with extra cushioning to absorb shock.
  • Fit: Make sure the shoes fit well and are comfortable. There should be enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes, and the heel should fit snugly without slipping.
  • Type of running: Consider the type of running you'll be doing. Trail running shoes have more traction and support, while road running shoes are lighter and more flexible.

Appropriate Clothing

Wearing the right clothing can make a big difference in your comfort level while running. Here are some tips:

  • Moisture-wicking fabric: Look for clothing made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep sweat away from your skin and prevent chafing.
  • Layers: Dress in layers so you can easily adjust your clothing to your body temperature. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a mid-layer for warmth, and finish with a lightweight outer layer for wind and rain protection.
  • Reflective gear: If you'll be running in low-light conditions, wear reflective gear to make sure you're visible to drivers and other runners.

Remember, investing in the right running gear can make all the difference in your performance and enjoyment of running.

Developing a Running Plan

As a beginner, it is important to have a plan when starting to run. Here are some tips on how to develop a running plan:

Setting Realistic Goals

Before starting your running plan, it is important to set realistic goals for yourself. This will help you stay motivated and track your progress. Start with small goals, such as running for 5 minutes without stopping, and gradually increase the duration or distance as you become more comfortable. Remember, progress takes time, so be patient with yourself.

Progressive Training

To prevent injury and improve your running performance, it is important to follow a progressive training plan. This means gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your runs over time. A good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week. Additionally, make sure to include rest days in your plan to allow your body to recover and prevent burnout.

By setting realistic goals and following a progressive training plan, you can develop a successful running routine as a beginner.

Importance of Warm-Up and Cool-Down

As a beginner runner, it's important to understand the significance of warming up and cooling down before and after a run. These two practices can help prevent injuries and ensure that your body is prepared for the workout ahead.

Proper Warm-Up Techniques

Before starting a run, it's essential to warm up your muscles and joints to prevent any potential injuries. Here are some effective warm-up techniques that you can incorporate into your routine:

  • Dynamic stretching: This involves movements that mimic the motions you'll be doing during your run. Examples include leg swings, lunges, and high knees.
  • Light jogging: Start with a slow jog to get your heart rate up and prepare your body for the workout ahead.
  • Foam rolling: Foam rolling can help loosen up tight muscles and improve flexibility.

Effective Cool-Down Methods

After completing your run, it's equally important to cool down and allow your body to recover. Here are some effective cool-down methods that you can incorporate into your routine:

  • Static stretching: This involves holding stretches for a longer period to help your muscles relax and prevent soreness.
  • Walking: Take a few minutes to walk and gradually slow down your pace to bring your heart rate back to normal.
  • Foam rolling: Foam rolling can also be an effective way to cool down and help your muscles recover.

Remember, warming up and cooling down are essential components of any running routine. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you can help prevent injuries and ensure that your body is prepared for the workout ahead.

Nutrition and Hydration for Runners

Balanced Diet for Energy

As a beginner runner, it is important to fuel your body with the right nutrients to maintain energy levels during runs. 

Consuming a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats can help provide the necessary energy for running. Carbohydrates are especially important as they are the primary source of fuel for the body during exercise. 

Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Proteins are also important for muscle repair and growth, and can be found in lean meats, fish, and plant-based sources such as beans and tofu. Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, can help provide sustained energy and aid in nutrient absorption.

Importance of Hydration

Staying hydrated is crucial for runners, as even mild dehydration can lead to decreased performance and increased risk of injury. It is recommended to drink water before, during, and after runs to maintain proper hydration levels.

Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are also important for hydration and can be found in sports drinks or through natural sources such as bananas and coconut water. It is important to listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty, as well as monitor urine color to ensure proper hydration levels. 

As a general rule, urine should be light yellow to clear in color.

Hydration Tips
Drink water before, during, and after runs
Monitor urine color to ensure proper hydration levels
Consider sports drinks or natural sources of electrolytes
Drink when you feel thirsty
Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption

Remember to always consult a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine.

Injury Prevention and Safety

As a beginner runner, it's important to prioritize injury prevention and safety during your runs. Here are some tips to keep you safe and injury-free:

Common Running Injuries

There are a few common injuries that runners may experience, especially beginners. These include:

  • Runner's knee: pain around or behind the kneecap
  • Shin splints: pain in the front of the lower leg
  • Plantar fasciitis: pain in the heel or arch of the foot
  • Achilles tendinitis: pain in the back of the ankle
  • IT band syndrome: pain on the outside of the knee

To prevent these injuries, make sure to:

  • Gradually increase your mileage and intensity
  • Wear proper running shoes that fit well
  • Stretch before and after your runs
  • Incorporate strength training exercises for your legs and core
  • Listen to your body and rest when needed

Safety Tips for Runners

In addition to injury prevention, it's important to prioritize your safety when running. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Run in well-lit areas, especially if running early in the morning or late at night
  • Wear reflective clothing or accessories to make yourself visible to drivers
  • Run against traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles
  • Carry identification and a phone with emergency contacts
  • Avoid running with headphones or earbuds, or keep the volume low enough to hear your surroundings
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts if something feels off

By prioritizing injury prevention and safety, you can enjoy your runs and make progress towards your running goals with confidence.

Tracking Your Progress

As a beginner runner, it's important to track your progress to see how far you've come and to stay motivated. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Use a Running App: There are many running apps available that track your distance, pace, and time. Some popular ones include Nike Run Club, Strava, and Runkeeper. These apps can also provide you with audio cues and coaching tips to help you improve your running form and speed.

  • Keep a Running Journal: Writing down your runs in a journal can help you keep track of your progress and identify patterns or areas for improvement. You can include details such as distance, time, weather, how you felt during the run, and any notes about your form or technique.

  • Set Goals: Setting goals for yourself can help you stay motivated and track your progress. Start with small, achievable goals such as running for 20 minutes without stopping, and gradually increase the difficulty as you improve. You can also set goals for distance, pace, or completing a race.

  • Join a Running Group: Joining a running group can help you stay accountable and motivated. Many groups have weekly or monthly runs, and some even offer coaching and training programs. Running with others can also help you push yourself and improve your pace and endurance.

Remember, tracking your progress is not just about seeing how far you've come, but also about identifying areas for improvement and setting goals for the future. Stay consistent and keep pushing yourself, and you'll see progress in no time.

Rest and Recovery

As a beginner runner, it's essential to prioritize rest and recovery to prevent injury and ensure progress. Here are some tips to help you recover effectively:

  • Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for recovery. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to help your body recover and repair.

  • Active Recovery: Active recovery can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Try low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, or cycling on your rest days.

  • Foam Rolling: Foam rolling can help release muscle tension and improve flexibility. Spend 10-15 minutes foam rolling after your runs to help prevent injury.

  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential for recovery. Make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is important for recovery and overall health. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day, and more if you're running in hot weather.

Remember, rest and recovery are just as important as your training runs. Listen to your body and take the time you need to recover properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should a beginner start a running routine?

As a beginner, it is important to start slow and gradually build up your endurance. Begin with a brisk walk for 5-10 minutes to warm up, then alternate between running and walking for short intervals of 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat this cycle for 20-30 minutes, gradually increasing the running intervals and decreasing the walking intervals as you progress.

What is a good beginner running plan?

A good beginner running plan should include a combination of running and walking intervals, gradually increasing the running intervals and decreasing the walking intervals over time. It is also important to incorporate rest days into your plan to allow your body to recover and prevent injury.

How many minutes should a beginner run per day?

As a beginner, it is recommended to start with 20-30 minutes of running per day, gradually increasing the duration over time as your endurance improves. It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, as this can lead to injury.

What are some tips for improving breathing while running?

To improve breathing while running, focus on taking deep breaths from your diaphragm and exhaling fully. Try to maintain a steady breathing rhythm, inhaling for 2-3 steps and exhaling for 2-3 steps. It can also be helpful to practice breathing exercises outside of running to improve overall lung capacity.

How can running be made easier for beginners?

Running can be made easier for beginners by investing in proper running shoes, staying hydrated, and incorporating strength training exercises to build endurance and prevent injury. It is also important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, as this can lead to burnout or injury.

Can someone get fit in 2 weeks by running?

While running can certainly help improve fitness levels, it is unrealistic to expect significant results in just 2 weeks. Consistency and patience are key when it comes to improving fitness through running. It is important to set realistic goals and work towards them gradually over time.

FREE Download: You can grab a beginner running program here

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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